Yes, it is.
Manga is a mode of comics storytelling that is not quite UNIQUE to Japan, but CHARACTERISTIC of it --- the decompression of moments, the fragmentation of perspectives and the overall dispersal of character-building --- and as such reducing it to a certain set of art-styles and transposing them onto Western characters doesn't mean that those characters now inhabit a manga form.
This is 100% accurate and perfectly defines what should
be called manga. I won't dispute this point but...
This is NOT saying that manga can't be done by non-Japanese, but rather that attempts by the Western market to call their pocket-sized black and white comics with big-eyed characters 'manga' are delusional at best. As such, stuff like the Mangaverse and Tsunami are really just Western comics with a anime/manga inspired visual design.
I whole-heartedly DISagree with this.
It's just not fair to lump in manga-inspired titles like Scott Pilgrim
, or Off-Beat
, or East Coast Rising
, or any other Original English Language digest-format titles, published by Tokyo Pop or Oni Press into the same "Western comics" category as direct-market superhero spandex pr0n. Beyond marketing considerations, they appeal to a completely different audience from, say, most Ultimate titles. They are primarily bought from commerical retail bookstores, as opposed to the anti-socal geek havens of direct-market comic shops.
Stuff like East Coast Rising
may not be "manga" in the purist sense you descibe, but they are definitely NOT "just Western comics with a anime/manga inspired visual design".
That's not necessarily a bad thing. I can perfectly enjoy an American comic with big hair and speed lines, but a spade is a spade and manga is manga. If the American comics industry really want to emulate manga, then they'd do something more substantial than trying to redress their existing comics with visual tics.
So if you refuse to acknowlege these titles as "manga" (or even "global manga" or "OEL manga" or "Amerimanga"), then at least accept that they appeal to a radically different audience than most yawn-inducing, continuity-bound Civil War
They have a different aesthetic sensibility, and feature much more diverse kinds of content than anything published by The Big Two. Even titles like Machine Teen
, and Livewires
-- which are built solidly within the framework of the Marvel Universe -- are not dependent on its continuity, and have more in common with Off*Beat
or Steady Beat
than they do with, say The Initiative
or Young Avengers
, in terms of themes, art style, method of story-telling, etc. The Marvel Mangaverse stuff is just the exception to the rule.
But at they same time, "OEL manga" doesn't necessarily appeal to the people who like stuff The Comics Journal tends to champion either (the Top Shelf/Fantagraphics/Slave Labor type of material).
As such, I think it would be fair to discuss even titles like Corey Lewis' Skharknife
(which I personally disliked -- a lot) in this forum, until somebody can come up with a name for them that doesn't have the word "manga" in it. Chances are, they would probably find a more appreciative readership here, rather than in the "General Comic Discussion" forum.